Hydraulic pumps are the lifeblood of many industrial applications and production lines, without which, the operation can come to a grinding halt. But the signs of an impending hydraulic pump failure can be subtle and hard to detect, which is why it’s important for engineers and technicians to be aware of the warning signs that could indicate a hydraulic pump is about to fail. Let’s look at four of these warning signs that could help you identify potential issues with your hydraulic pump before it fails completely:
1. Noisy Operation
The first sign of an impending hydraulic pump failure is usually noisier than usual operation. This could be anything from high-pitched squealing to more metallic rattling sounds, depending on the type of pump being used. If your pump has always been relatively quiet but then suddenly becomes louder than normal without apparent cause, this may indicate internal wear or damage. In most cases, the loud noise will be caused by friction between moving parts within the pump, and it should not be ignored as it will only get worse over time if left unchecked.
2. Insufficient Fluid In The Tank
There should always be enough fluid in the tank so that the pump can operate properly and reliably. If there is too little fluid, this is a sign that something is not right with the system and should be checked immediately. It’s usually a sign that there is a leak somewhere in the system, which can cause air bubbles to form in the lines, leading to decreased performance and eventual failure of pistons and seals within the system. Pay attention to how full your tanks are and watch for any unusual drops in pressure or performance during day-to-day operations.
3. Strong Or Unusual Odour
A strong or unusual odour emanating from your hydraulic system might also point towards potential problems with one or more components within it—including your hydraulic pump. Strong odours could mean that there is something wrong with one of the seals or gaskets, or it may indicate that your hydraulic oil has become contaminated, so pay attention if you start smelling anything out of the ordinary coming from your system; this could well be an early warning sign of an impending failure.
4. Inconsistent Output Pressure
Erratic output pressure is perhaps one of the more obvious signs that something is wrong with your hydraulic system’s performance. If your output pressure is inconsistent then this indicates a potential issue with either your plumbing system or an internal component within the pump itself, such as a valve or pressure relief device not functioning properly. Pressure issues usually require immediate attention, so they don’t cause increased energy consumption, or even equipment failure due to insufficient flow rates resulting from inadequate system pressure levels.
It’s important for engineers to pay close attention to their hydraulic pumps and look out for these four warning signs of impending failure, before a more serious issue arises that causes unscheduled downtime. For support with planning regular maintenance and inspections for your hydraulic systems, please contact one of our team of hydraulic design specialists at Hydrastar by calling 01353 721704.